IRL: IMS big pole payooff Saturday

For Immediate Release DRIVERS SHOOT FOR BIG POLE PAYOFF SATURDAY IN INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUALIFYING INDIANAPOLIS, May 7, 1997 Drivers and teams will be shooting for more than $200,000 in qualifying prizes Saturday when they line up on pit road...

For Immediate Release

DRIVERS SHOOT FOR BIG POLE PAYOFF SATURDAY IN INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUALIFYING

INDIANAPOLIS, May 7, 1997 Drivers and teams will be shooting for more than $200,000 in qualifying prizes Saturday when they line up on pit road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first day of time trials to bid for starting spots in the field for the richest auto race in the world, the 81st Indianapolis 500.

The top prize up for grabs is the PPG Pole Award of $100,000 plus a custom van valued at over $40,000 from Chevrolet, which goes to the pole-position qualifier for the auto racing classic.

In addition, GTE has posted $10,000 in GTE Front Runner Awards for each of the three qualifiers for the front row and Pennzoil has posted up to $25,000 in qualifying awards as part of a new contingency package.

The postings are part of a record total of $1,767,250 in prizes offered by participating companies, an increase of $237,000 over the total posting for the 1996 edition of the "500."

Heading the list is PPG Industries' posting of $495,000 in addition to its pole award, or $15,000 each to the 33 starting cars in the field. Pennzoil's recently announced awards program includes contingency awards of up to $170,000.

Other qualifying awards include the True Value Pole Winning Chief Mechanic Award of $10,000, the Sure Start/Automotive Armature "On the Bubble" Award of $10,000 to the 33rd fastest qualifier, the Ferguson Steel Most Consistent Qualifier and Most Consistent Rookie Qualifier Awards of $5,000 each and the Ameritech Youngest Starting Driver Award of $7,500.

Also on the list of $5,000 qualifying prizes are the Citadel Group "Overachiever" Award for the team which achieves the greatest success with limited resources, the Buckeye Machine Race Spec "Final Measure" Award for the last team to pass inspection and qualify for the race, the Snap-On/Championship Association of Mechanics "Top Wrench" Award to the chief mechanic voted by his peers as best in practice and qualifying, the Mi-Jack "Top Performer" Award to the driver recording the single fastest qualifying lap, the SRE Industries "My Bubble Burst" Award to the last driver to be bumped from the field and the T.P. Donovan Top Starting Rookie Award.

Qualifications are scheduled Saturday and Sunday and May 17-18. The Speedway's gates open at 7 a.m. and time trials are set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.

ABC Sports will televise Pole Day qualifying live from 1-3 p.m. (EDT) Saturday and 1:30-2:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. ESPN has scheduled time-trial coverage from 507 p.m. this Sunday, and from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17 and 5-7 p.m. Sunday, May 18.

...IMS97-06...

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Series IndyCar